Supporting Silicified ‘Glass’ Insect Macrofossils for Repair with Self-Releasing Bandages and Foam Support Systems

Marina B. Gibbons

Abstract

Handling silicified “glass” insect fossils and supporting them during conservation treatment is challenging due to their extreme fragility and light weight. In order to enable both long-term storage and research use of the rare collection of Miocene-era “glass” insects at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, a series of handling techniques and support methods were adapted from other conservation and paleontological specialties and trialed on a representative macrofossil specimen. Using self-releasing cyclododecane and polyester bandages along with tensioned foam support systems enabled safe control over fragment alignment during remedial treatment. Standard laboratory tweezers were modified with Ento Sphinx 00-gauge stainless steel entomology pins for safer handling of individual specimens and specimen fragments in the future. The overall storage system for this fossil assemblage was also reevaluated.

2019 | Uncasville | Volume 26